Simmer the husks in water to cover for about 10 minutes. Weight with a plate to keep them submerged, and leave to soak for 1 or 2 hours, or until they are completely flexible. Place the raisins in a small bowl, cover them with the apple juice, and leave to macerate. With an electric mixer, beat the lard or butter until it is light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the sugar and half of the fresh masa, and beat them into the mixture. Little by little, alternate adding the milk and the remaining masa, beating in between each addition, until the mixture is the consistency of thick batter. Beat in the salt, baking powder, and cinnamon and continue beating for 1 minute longer.
Separate out 12 of the largest and most flexible husks, they should be at least 6 inches wide and 6 or 7 inches long. Reserve the remaining husks for tieing the tamales. If there aren't enough large husks, overlap them to give a nice wide surface to spread the dough on. Pat the leaves dry with a tea towel. Place about 1/3 cup of the batter in the center of each husk, top with a few raisins (use a slotted spoon to remove the raisins from the apple juice) and figs, and wrap and tie the husks as usual to enclose the dough. Steam the tamales for 2 1/2 hours, or until they come easily free of the wrappers. Cool slightly and serve, with crema and chopped mango or papaya, if desired
c.1997, M.S. Milliken & S. Feniger, all rights reserved
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